Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Honored By Confluence Award

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15

Volunteers and stream cleanup organizers from across the state recently met in Atlanta to celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s largest volunteer cleanup program, Rivers Alive.  The Rivers Alive awards honor the efforts of individuals and groups who are working to improve Georgia’s waterways, one trash bag at a time.  Volunteers wade into rivers, lakes and coastal waters each fall as part of the continuing statewide campaign to clean and preserve more than 70,000 miles of Georgia waterways.

The Rivers Alive awards ceremony, held on April 15, at Zoo Atlanta, recognized groups of volunteers, as well as individuals and businesses for their efforts in 2013.  The Confluence award, which recognizes successful community partnerships, was awarded to organizers of the annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup event.  Confluence, defined as the flowing together of two or more streams, or rivers, clearly describes the coming together of local organizations for one purpose.  The members of the organizing committee for the annual cleanup are Jeff Carrier (Carpet & Rug Institute), Dirk Verhoeff (Conasauga River Alliance & Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority), Gretchen and John Lugthart (Dalton State College), Phillip Pfeifer and David Oxford (Dalton Utilities), Sandy Adams (Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful), Liz Swafford (Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful), Josh Smith and Dan Huser (Limestone Valley RC & D), Brenda Jackson (Murray County Extension), Katie Owens (The Nature Conservancy), and Chris Hester (Whitfield County).

“This is certainly an appropriate award for our group,” said John Lugthart, one of the organizers and a Dalton State professor of biology.  “We have a great team of people, all of whom are committed to educating our community about the importance of protecting our local streams and the Conasauga River.  We are coming up on our 20th annual cleanup and are still going strong!” 

During the 2013 watershed cleanup 258 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties removed trash, debris, and invasive plants from seven sites in the two counties.  Overall, volunteers collected and removed 8,329 pounds of trash and 37 tires. 

Funding sponsors for the 2013 event included: Shaw Industries, J&J Industries, Dalton Utilities, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conasauga River Alliance. 

At the state level, during the 2013 Cleanup, 27,679 volunteers cleaned more than 1,800 miles of waterways and removed over 500,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, including car parts, grocery carts, luggage, basketballs, TVs, sinks, bicycles, tires and plastic bottles. Rivers Alive is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. “Rivers Alive cleanups provide important opportunities for citizens to make a big difference while volunteering just a few hours of their time,” said EPD Director Jud Turner. “Citizens return home with a greater awareness of how our everyday choices impact our environment.”

Southern Environmental Law Center Files Lawsuit Against Forest Service

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Knoxville attorney Shelby Ward, on behalf of Heartwood and Tennessee Heartwood, jointly filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday, alleging that the Forest Service is illegally endangering the soil, forests, and waters of the Cherokee National Forest and hiding those risks from the ... (click for more)

Str8 Shooters Participate In TNSCTP Iron Man Competition Over The Weekend

The Str8 Shooters Clay Team started their season by participating in the TNSCTP Iron Man Competition in Nashville this past weekend. The Iron Man Competition focuses on testing their skills in skeet, sporting clays and trap against those in different age brackets and skill levels. Those from the team choosing to participate consisted of the Red Team which were Blythe Booker, ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Sets Press Conference To Announce New Project; Governor Haslam To Attend

Volkswagen has called a press conference at its Chattanooga plant on Monday to announce "a new project." Governor Bill Haslam is among those set to attend. Also taking part will be Antonio Pinto, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant, and Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen group of America. The announcement will be at 2:30 p.m. at the plant ... (click for more)

Clark D. Nolan, Accused Of Imprisoning And Assaulting Wife, Found Competent To Stand Trial

A Graysville, Tn., man who allegedly strangled, assaulted and threatened to kill his wife while holding her prisoner in their home is competent to stand trial, according to two forensic evaluators. Psychologist Robert W. Brown Jr. and forensic coordinator Todd Wiggins reported to Sequatchie County General Sessions Court that they evaluated Clark Dean Nolan on charges of aggravated ... (click for more)

Why Are Pictures Of Our President And Vice President Not Hanging At Our Federal Courthouse?

I would like to know why the pictures of our President and Vice President have not been hung in our Federal Courthouse. They have been approved by the White House. Every time I call they tell me they are on order. Tommy Fryar (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As your dress in your best green outfit today so you can join in the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry, here’s a conversation that was overhead at an Irish pub in Killarney. Finnegan is sitting in his favorite corner, using some of the proceeds after selling his friend Michael a donkey. Suddenly Michael bolts in the door and yells, “Hey, Finnegan, that donkey you sold me went and died.' ... (click for more)